I stumbled upon this post from last year on Twitter recently and wanted to share it as an important reminder. Of the 5 tips, the one that I wanted to highlight is about boundaries.
Whenever anyone asks me about blogging, especially about child abuse and mental health, I tell them that they need to decide two things, and always stick to them.
1. Decide what you will share about your own story, and what is off the table. Don’t share so much of yourself that you wind up becoming overwhelmed and find yourself dealing with the fallout. Remember, once you share it, you no longer control how other people respond. If you’re not ready for that, there’s no shame in it. Just know before you start.
2. The second one, is to decide what you’re willing and able, to give to your readers. This is the hardest one, as the article below mentions:
If we’re not a mental health professional, or we’re off the clock, we should never act as someone’s therapist or counsellor. But we can fall into these roles quite easily. We also can’t make ourselves available to someone 24/7. It’s a lovely offer but we have our own lives. So, it’s unrealistic and sets an expectation we may not meet. The bottom line. We’re not a crisis helpline and we shouldn’t be used as such.
Again, you have to decide what you’re able to do for anyone who reaches out and stick to it. I’ve had people get very angry with me when I held onto my own boundaries, and that’s upsetting, but I have never regretted sticking to my boundaries, whereas I have almost always regretted making exceptions for people.
For me, that boundary looks like this:
I’m a blogger. I do my best to share information, writing as a way to offer support, and I interact on social media with others as I can. But, I also have a full-time career not related to this blog, a family, friends, and other interests. I do this in my spare time, so no I’m not giving out my phone number for you to call when you need a friend, I’m not your therapist. I’m not a crisis line, and I’m definitely not sharing more personal details with you in a message when you are not someone I know.
If those rules offend you, I’m sorry. But it’s what I have to do in order to keep doing what I do. I’ve seen way too many “advocates” give out their phone number, tell strangers to call them any time, respond immediately to every post and comment, and then they just disappear a few months later if it takes that long. It’s not sustainable. It will always end that way.
I find it much better to stick to my boundaries, even if it makes the occasional reader mad at me, and be able to keep this site going, letting people know they are not alone, and, most importantly, myself sane.
Check out the other 4 tips as well –